- Vermilion Voice
Stephen Price visiting Vermilion on October 16. Photo Angela Mouly
Stephen Price has overcome obstacles in physical health, psychological health, and business in order to achieve the life he had always dreamed of. Price grew up in Vermilion, and attended high school in Lloydminster. He had been born with a birth defect (club foot), which would not have created as much difficulty; except that the doctor had waited until he was three days old to correct it. As a result, he underwent four major surgeries throughout his childhood. At approximately three years of age, he was given leg braces, and later was told he would never be able to run. “I was confined to a wheel chair or crutch bound until I was just shy of 12 years old,” said Price.
Between surgeries, Price put on a significant amount of weight and attempted sports, but admitted that he likely provided more help for the opposition. In his work life, he was promoted at 17-years-old to be a manager (the company’s youngest ever) and moved to Edmonton, where he stayed for 10 years. During this time, Price was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which can be extremely painful and debilitating. At approximately 25 years old, Price was working in retail upper management, spending all day on his feet at 252 lbs. “By chance, I read a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that said, ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do - you have to keep moving forward.’ I took it literally because I could walk and had always wanted to run. My first run, I went 50m and I thought I was going to have a heart attack; it was brutal. The second day, I ran 100m. The third day, I ran 10km non-stop. Then I ran 18km non-stop and I realized; clearly I can do this!” said Price. In four and a half months, Price lost 75 lbs. Within 10 months he had ran his first three marathons, in Edmonton, Iceland, and Portugal. “After running marathons, I realized that I loved running, even though I still limp. There are days when I don’t want to run, but I just think about when I couldn’t run, and I am grateful that I can,” said Price. He worked at The Running Room instructing clinics and thought, why not turn it into a business, and that’s exactly what he did. Fifteen years ago, Price started a travel agency called Dream Travel (Canada). Though it is a full on travel agency, he found a specialized/niche market by being dedicated to taking walkers and runners to races around the world. Three years after starting his business, due to the housing crisis in the United States, and it’s affect on the Canadian dollar, he lost nearly everything in order to keep his business afloat. Without a home or a plan, on his last day in Edmonton, Price decided to wait and get the mail one last time; although he certainly did not expect what was coming. A cheque arrived from his uncle on behalf of his late Grandmother. Instantly, he realized that the $2,000 would allow him six months including food in Costa Rica. He planned to stay with a friend from Vermilion who was house-sitting there at the time. “One or two days after moving to Costa Rica, I was stressed out,” admitted Price. Price went on to explain that living in Costa Rica he was much healthier. From there he was also able to turn his business around. He’s also now thrilled to be medication free (Crohn’s disease) for the past three years. “After those six months, I thought I could return to Canada, but I was living on a beach in paradise. Running in Canada in the winter on snow and ice is horrible. I thought, ‘If I can operate my business remotely, and train year round, why not continue to live in paradise,’” said Price. Realizing that it was cheaper to stay in places than to fly back and forth, Price has been living out of a carry-on bag for the past 10 years, choosing to continue travelling and remain homeless. For the past 15 years, Price has been running races all over the world including Asia, Africa, Central and South America, Europe; everywhere but Australia and Antarctica. Price said that if he was to call anywhere home it would be Costa Rica, but he continues to enjoy visiting family in Vermilion. “I always felt like I could come back, but I wanted to follow my dreams,” said Price. In conclusion, Price was encouraged by his clients, and just completed writing a book about travelling the world called, ‘No More Excuses.’ For more information, or to purchase his book, you can visit https://dreamtravelcanada.com.
From left, Stephen Price running marathons at the Great Wall of China, the Gobi Dessert, and Vietnam.
From left, Stephen Price running marathons at Mount Kilimanjaro, Azerbaijan, and Machu Picchu. Photos submitted